I hope that you all are having a happy holiday season so far!
The past month has been extremely busy and exciting! Midway through November, I boarded a plane to Tignes, France for a training camp and last preparations before heading over to Ruka, Finland for the first World Cup competition of the year!
Last Preparations in Tignes
During our stay in Tignes, the weather unfortunately did not comply, as we were never able to reach the course atop the glacier. As a result, we had to figure out another method of training that would continue to keep us fresh and prepared for the World Cup event in a few weeks. Therefore, we ended up training on a jump site near the bottom of the mountain. Additionally, the mountain in Tignes received a good amount of snow and the terrain was amazing. We did some of the best freeskiing I’ve ever done!
FREESKIING IN TIGNES
Ruka, Finland – The World Cup Venue
After our training in Tignes, France, we traveled to the World Cup competition venue in Ruka, Finlad to complete a training block on the world cup course before the actual event. This training block consisted of 4 days of skiing, in which I was able to figure out bits and pieces to my run. Additionally, it was a great opportunity for me to get back on a full mogul course, as it was my first time back onto a competition-ready course since my trip to Zermatt in October.
THE COMPETITION COURSE IN RUKA
During this training block, I got stuck with my back full, a trick that I have been working on throughout the duration of the preparation season. Throughout the 4 day block, I never quite hit the trick the way I had hoped so that it would be competition ready. At the end of the block, I was able to take a step back and decide to go with my backup plan for my competition run – a 360 on the top jump instead of my back full. This was the best decision for me, as it ensured that I would compete my best in this first event of the year.
Before the official world cup training and competition begins, the entire mogul course gets rebuilt so that it meets the specifications of a world cup mogul course. This course rebuild happens usually a couple days before the official training begins and during this course rebuild in Ruka, we had 3 days off from skiing. During those off days, I mainly worked on my schoolwork – completing final essays and preparing for final exams that I was scheduled to take upon my return to Park City. On one of the off days, I had the opportunity to go exploring a bit. A few of my teammates and I traveled to a reindeer farm, where we saw reindeer and huskies. We also ate breakfast at a Finnish bakery next to the farm. However, the highlight of the excursion was taking a husky ride on a sled pulled by the dogs through the woods! It was neat to have a closer look into traditional Finnish culture.
OUR DOG SLED ADVENTURE
Another amazing thing about being in Finland was the darkness we were submerged in for the majority of the day; the sun usually rose at about 10 am and set around 2 pm. Although most days were cloudy, when the sun came out, the sunsets were absolutely gorgeous. In particular, the second official training day for the event set the stage with a clear sky and a sunset that lasted for the first half of training. It was one of the prettier landscapes I have had the pleasure of viewing throughout my travels.
THE BEAUTIFUL LIGHTING OF RUKA
The above picture was taken at around noon on a training day! I am the skier in the front with the white ID One logo on my helmet :).
Back in the Gate
Despite the fact that there were many exciting experiences throughout the trip, my favorite part was definitely competing in the World Cup in Ruka. It was amazing to step back into the gate and feel the adrenaline pounding through my veins as I stared down the entirety of the course, ready to perform.
The format for this World Cup was a little different compared to the regular format; the event was structured in such a way that was similar to a World Championships event, which was a great experience. As a result, I had two chances to qualify for finals. In total, I skied three runs. The first qualification run I finished 16th, the second qualification run I finished 14th, which qualified me for finals (top 16). In the finals, I finished in 14th place, my best finish on World Cups thus far.
I am excited with this finish because of the fact that it is a great starting point for the season. My 14th place finish also qualified me to compete in the next World Cup in Lake Placid, NY on January 13th and in the World Cup in Deer Valley, UT on February 1st & 3rd.
The US Freestyle girls team had an extremely successful day with qualifying 5 out of our 6 girls in the finals!
US Freestyle Girls Ski Team – All 6 in the Top 17
Over the course of the competition day, I learned a lot about myself as a competitor in addition to what exactly is required of me in order to be a top competitor on the World Cup Tour during the event. I am ecstatic moving forward; I have a few improvements to make that will boost me into the place I’d like to be on the World Cup circuit. I am excited for what’s next!
Immediately following the competition, we boarded a plane (actually 4 planes in total!) to travel back to Park City. It has been nice to see my family and finish up my school semester with a week of finals. Being home has been a nice change of pace; however, I will be off again to travel soon. This week, I will be watching US Selections in Winter Park, CO, an event in which many of my friends and previous teammates from Steamboat will be competing. I am super excited to be a spectator and support my friends and teammates. Afterwards, I travel to Steamboat before Christmas to get back to the basics and reevaluate my training and competition plan moving forward and getting ready for the next World Cup in Lake Placid, NY. I am excited with the improvements that I am going to make over the next few weeks in addition to how the rest of the competition season will stack up after the New Year!
Hope all is well with everyone! I wish all of you and your families the merriest of holidays! Thank you again for your continued support! My journey could not be possible without you! THANK YOU! Sending my best wishes to all of you.
Best, Olivia 🙂